Save the Mentor!

T-34 owners are the latest to prove the value of good old-fashioned American ingenuity.

Air & Space Magazine

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This time, the dust settled quickly. Holders of AMOC authorizations modified them to include inspections of three rivet holes in the rear spar, and the FAA, by now accustomed to working cooperatively with representatives of the T-34 community, reinstated the AMOCs without delay. The FAA also terminated the sweeping program of inspections of T-34 paperwork, not having found enough discrepancies to justify continuing with it. T-34s were soon flying again; Lima Lima's exhibition schedule barely missed a beat. Once a T-34 had emerged from the inspection and modification process with a clean bill of health, the re-inspection period was extended to intervals that represented, depending on the work done, anywhere from several years to a lifetime of flying.

Nevertheless, pilots would be watching G-meters now, and in the back of their minds would be the worry that somewhere-if not in their own airplane, then in someone else's-a fatigue crack might be starting to form. Like an athlete who discovers in his 40s that his body can no longer take the punishment it used to, the T-34 was passing into a new phase: not old age, but perhaps middle age, a time for reflection, restraint, and an awareness of mortality.

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